Originally Posted by Jay
I have to admit, I was surprised to see Jose Calderon back in the lineup. As somebody who has gone through some pretty serious hamstring injuries, I know how easy it is to tweak things and then set yourself back even further than you originally were, so Jose and the doctors must have felt pretty confident that Jose wasn’t going to do any additional damage by playing tonight. Even still, at this point in the season, even with limited minutes, I can’t say that I agree with the decision to play him tonight. I don’t care if the Raptors are slumping right now, because they have Friday against the Nets (a winnable game) and then a tough matchup against the Celtics on Sunday. That’s a lot of ball in a short period and when you finish off the week with the Celtics, you might want your starting PG to be ready.
Earlier, I called out those individuals who have been calling for Bargs to be traded. He pretty much showed tonight what he can do and overall has continued to have a good season. But since we have already been through that, let’s look a bit at JO and how people (yes, that’s YOU Dave Feschuk c/o The Toronto Star…Mr. Misery personified) were complaining about him not having things together four games into the season. As we’ve said here, it doesn’t matter how much of a vet you are, moving into a new team, new playbook, new teammates, new city, new country…well, it can be a bit much and surely there will be an adjustment period. Now that he has posted 5 straight double doubles and has been a beast on the boards lately, we don’t hear so much of that complaining, eh? The thing about JO is that while his stat sheet is impressive, the things that aren’t on the stat sheet are even more impressive. Watch when guys are attacking the lane. You will see many shots adjusted mid flight or even see guys looking for a last minute dish because they see JO lurking. At times, we even see JO cheat a little and give a guy an opening so he can come at an angle for the block. JO’s defence has also made Bosh and Bargs better defenders, because they don’t have to worry so much about being in mismatches where they end up being overpowered. JO is taking a lot of heat off of the other Raptor bigs.
I was talking earlier about not letting DWade try to take over the game and damn if we didn’t almost see it tonight. I’ll throw out the cliched caveat here, that we don’t want to see anybody get hurt on the court, but at some point, when a guy is blowing around supposedly one of your best defenders (AP…who had rough night on D) and then subsequently walks down the lane for an uncontested dunk…well…to paraphrase Romeo Crennell, that’s when it’s time to CROWN HIS ASS. The game was still far enough away for the Heat that the Raptors could have sent a message to DWade. Where’s Bonner when you need him? Down the stretch, it got too close to even think about this, but when you’re up 12 and a guy throws down a couple of highlight reel dunks, make sure that the next time he tries, he’s looking up at the mop girl who’s waiting for him to get up.
Anyway, on to the Nets. I’m sure there will be (yawn) some Vince comments at some point, but really Raptors fans, that was a loooooong time ago.